By Susan Rich
Fiona McLaughlin and Aisha Madrone had a dream: provide affordable, high-quality, alternative healthcare to the Portland community…at a price that everyone can afford. Like most dreams-come-true, this one had a few twists and turns along the way.
Three years ago McLaughlin and Madrone launched Seven Star Acupuncture and Apothecary, a clinic focused on the benefits of Chinese herbal medicine. Their services include private and group acupuncture treatments as well as licensed massage therapy, chiropractic care and an onsite herbal dispensary.
“We wanted to provide acupuncture that literally everyone can afford,” said McLaughlin. “People need regular health care to prevent future illness.”
The partners signed a lease on a 2,000-square-foot space at 436 SE 12th Ave. Construction began, then stalled for lack of money. “The renovation cost more than we expected,” McLaughlin said. Banks, sliding into deep freeze mode, refused to loan money.
Then a friend suggested Mercy Corps Northwest. McLaughlin and Madrone applied for, and received, a $13,000 loan.
Our wonderful volunteer presenter Susan Rich, who has presented her Write it Rich! Series with us several times to rave reviews, is offering two longer extended sessions in the coming weeks. If you wanted more from Susan Rich than we’ve been able to offer with a couple sessions at Mercy Corps Northwest, this may be your chance. You can find out more about her at www.richwriting.com
Back and Better for 2010!
Write it Rich! Tips for Reluctant Writers
Longer class, more content, all for $65*
What’s the secret to writing benefit-based marketing copy that GRABS attention and DRIVES sales? There isn’t one. It’s actually a 3-step process, and one you can learn in just 3 hours. Write it Rich! Tips for Reluctant Writers shows you how.
In this class:
Learn – how to sell the benefit of your product or service so you make more money.
Discover – why the intangibles of your business story are your most potent sales tool.
Leave – with a benefit-based mini ad. You’ll learn the difference between “what you do” and how to describe your business so “others benefit.”
Wednesday, Feb. 24, 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Saturday, Feb. 27, 10 am to 1 pm
150 SW Harrison, near the Lovejoy Fountain
Directions sent when you register.
Class size limited to 10. Registration required.
Please RSVP to Susan Rich, RichWriting.
*$65 Limited Time Offer
On January 16th, we had our first Saturday morning seminar with Suzanne Feucht, accounting coach and trainer, to talk about basic financial tools. There were lots of participants and even more questions, so it was hard to get through everything Suzanne had on the agenda. They appreciated that she emphasized the basics: using the right accounting software, keeping track of paperwork, etc. The big message was they wanted more accounting and financial seminars in the future.
January 21st, Susan Rich joined us for a new addition to her Write it Rich! series. This presentation was on benefit-based copy, and how small businesses can think about what their product or service provides, and use that message to market themselves. We got to look at (and laugh about) some vintage ads, and point out where the key message was and what we were being sold… not a product, but a benefit. There was a lot of great discussion, so much so that we went a little over time. But no one seemed to mind too much – they were busy practicing their benefit-based copy and writing up their own blurbs and ads.
Happy new year!
In January, we’ve got:
Saturday, January 16th, 10am-noon
Basic Financial Tools for Small Business Owners
Some of you have said weekday evening seminars are difficult for you, so we’re trying out our first Saturday seminar. Suzanne Feucht, an accounting coach and trainer at SF Business Services, will be doing a roundtable discussion of eight of the most relevant financial topics for micro-entrepreneurs, including:
- bookkeeping challenges for different entities
- which software to choose for recordkeeping
- inventory challenges
- and more
Thursday, January 21st, 6-8 p.m.
Write it Rich! Benefit-Based Copy: How to Tell Your Story, and Build Your Business
Susan Rich joins us for a new addition to her Write it Rich! series. How would your potential customer benefit from contacting your business, and how do you get that message across when describing your product or service? In this interactive workshop, learn how to appeal to your target audience and more effectively present your business.
Sign-up information here
I got an email the other day from someone who wasn’t able to make it to Peter’s Marketing on a Shoestring class Monday night, but wanted to know if there was some sort of summary or resource online.
I tried, but it’s kind hard to summarize what Peter did. He said he’s taught this class before and that it always ended up being a laundry list of techniques that you could have googled “shoestring marketing” and found yourself. So this class he decided to make more discussion based, and started out by having everyone go around and introduce themselves and their businesses and any experiences they’d had with shoestring marketing. People came up with things like social media, networking with peer businesses, referrals, doing email newsletters with coupons and raffles, etc. And so they elaborated more on some of those ideas.
Then he focused on the second half about the main part of your marketing being building relationships and focusing on people. And so, maintaining good customer service and providing a good product so that that one satisfied customer will go out and recommend you to more. He suggested doing events that weren’t necessarily focused on selling your product, but that got interested people together and allowed you to demonstrate your quality or your expertise in a fun and memorable way. He emphasized in this relationship-building part that it was important not to pester and bombard people with your sale, but to remember that people want to do business with people they like.
Well, that was the best I could do in the way of summary. It was great to have such a discussion-focused class, even though it made it difficult to condense into any sort of handout! But one exciting development is that we’ve got a group who’s going to help us by filming our classes and trainings so that we can get them up on our website and make them more accessible – so next time (or more accurately, starting with Susan Rich’s seminar on December 14th) I can offer people like him something more concrete!